LOS ANGELES — Senior outfielder Collin Montez had a two-run single in a seven-run third inning Sunday as the Washington State baseball team exploded for 20 hits in a 13-2 thumping of USC in the finale of a three-game Pac-12 series at Dedeaux Field.
“I was really happy for the guys,” second-year coach Brian Green said. “We were in a little bit of a rut, primarily on the defensive side, so it was a great response.”
Junior shortstop Kodie Kolden went 4-for-6 with two runs scored and an RBI to pace the Cougars (24-22, 11-16 Pac-12), who snapped a five-game losing streak. Sophomore outfielder Nate Swarts was 3-for-5 with a double and four RBI. Junior first baseman Kyle Manzardo went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI. Junior catcher Jake Meyer went 3-for-5 with a run scored. Junior outfielder Jackob McKeon went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI, and senior designated hitter Tristan Peterson went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI.
“We really swung the bats well today,” Green said. “In baseball, you’ll hit the ball hard one day and it won’t find a hole and the next day it will, and we found a lot today. But we also squared up a lot of balls.”
Jamal O’Guinn led the Trojans (22-22, 10-14) with a 3-for-3 effort with a double, a run scored and an RBI. Rhylan Thomas was 2-for-4 and Clay Owens also was 2-for-4.
Sophomore right-hander Grant Taylor (2-0) picked up the win in his first career conference start. He allowed five hits and two runs, one earned, in five innings. He struck out three.
“He’s been really valuable, and we’ve needed him,” Green said. “We’ve been a little thin on the mound, just in terms of length, and Grant’s been able to come in and provide some for us. That was a big start today. He came in and didn’t have his best stuff, but he gutted it (out) and got us into the fifth. Grant was huge, and he’s been really big for us down the stretch.”
Senior left-hander Michael Newstrom got an out in the eighth in his 32 appearance of the season, setting a single-season school mark for most games pitched.
“The guy’s been absolutely a rubber arm for us,” Green said. “He throws every day and gives you everything he can.”
Alex Cornwell (5-5) took the loss, allowing six hits, two walks and six runs, all earned, in two-plus innings. He struck out one.
O’Guinn doubled home a run with two outs in the first to give USC the early lead. But WSU took charge in the third.
Manzardo had an RBI single to tie the game, then Kolden, after getting aboard on a bunt single and moving up on Manzardo’s hit, stole third and scored on a passed ball. Peterson walked and McKeon singled to load the bases, then Montez followed with his two-run double to make it 4-1 WSU. A ground out and a sacrifice fly each plated a run and Kolden, batting for the second time in the inning, followed with another run-producing single.
The Trojans tallied a run in the fourth on a sacrifice fly, but the Cougars got it back in their half of the fifth and a Peterson one-out single.
WSU put it out of reach with a four-run seventh, fueled by two-run hits by McKeon and Swarts. Swarts closed out the scoring with an RBI single in the ninth.
WSU 007 010 401—13 20 0
USC 100 100 000—2 9 1
Grant Taylor, Dakota Hawkins (6), Michael Newstrom (8), Kolby Kmetko (9) and Jake Meyer; Alex Cornwell, Carson Lambert (3), Brian Gursky (4), Charlie Hurley (5), Kyle Wisch (7), Jaden Agassi (8) and Garret Guillemette.
WSU hits — Kodie Kolden 4, Nate Swarts 3 (2B), Kyle Manzardo 3, Jake Meyer 3, Tristan Peterson 2, Jacob McKeon 2, Collin Montez (2B), Jack Smith, Preston Clifford.
USC hits — Jamal O’Guinn 3 (2B), Clay Owens 2 (2B), Rhylan Thomas 2, Tyresse Turner, Garret Guillemette.